What is Virtualisation?

Microsoft Hyper-V and vmware logos

Server Virtualisation is a term that has been around for the past 5 years or so, its grown ever more popular to the point where most servers and applications within businesses are now using the technology.

Virtualisation is the concept of splitting a physical server, into multiple smaller server, dedicated their own resources and thus not affecting each other’s operation. This is particularly revolutionary for small business that had a single server running multiple ‘roles’ and one of the roles then upsetting another. A lot of vendors support and encourage running their applications on virtual servers due to the ability to scale and reduce resources easily.

image-horizontal-virtualization

‘Virtualising’ a server gives the flexibility that it can be moved easily to another virtualisation host server, scales with demand and backed up with ease. You can even perform a disaster recovery test using the Hyper-V components of Windows Server 2012+ at no extra cost (Kind of, but be aware you do have to licence a standby server as per Microsoft licensing rules) this is much more difficult with Physical servers dedicated to one role.

Virtualisation has been around since Windows Server 2008 and most recently Windows server 2012 R2 and 2016 and with each revision receiving more and more valuable features. VMWare is still viable in the small business environment but certainly has a lot less features than Hyper-V on a vanilla install.

The question you may still be asking is whats the point? – Well. Cost is the reason why you use virtualisation from a licensing and also a hardware standpoint. When you purchase a server if you have that server performing one role (and there are exceptions, but they are few) then 90% of the time that server will not be using all of its resources effectively, lots will be unused and generally wasted. Virtualisation conquers this problem but allowing you to place more servers on a physical box and splitting the resources effectively and dynamically between all virtual servers. This means you need less physical servers in your server room, less management and hardware support costs, less power consumption, and easily scalable = saving the business money.

Many of our solutions to customers revolve around virtualisation whether its Hyper-V or VMWare. IT Leaders need to be aware of this technology to understand how it benefits their business.